Any time Eric Byrnes get a hit, or makes a great defensive play, is an occasion to be of good cheer. –Kéllia Ramares, Aug. 25, 2005
Well today Eric Byrnes got a hit, a sharp single to left his first time up (1-3), AND made a great defensive play, a “running back toward the wall while keeping his eye on the ball full out extension dive into the air to catch it” play that announcer Mark Grace, who knows a thing or two about MLB, was still praising, with reason, innings later. A rarity for you to see, Gracie, but par for the course for us Byrnes-watchers, who never tire of seeing our guy turn potential extra-base hits into loud outs. Get delightfully used to it!
AND I got to see the hit and the catch! Finally! (Yeah, I work in radio, but I’d much rather watch baseball than listen to it, especially when Eric Byrnes is patrolling the outfield).
Three AB’s is really not enough for me to say a whole bunch about Byrnesie’s batting mechanics, so I won’t until I’ve seen more. (I am having trouble lately getting MLB up on my workstation computer, but I will deal with that later this week). I will say this much, though: Given what I saw in today’s game, what I saw in a little quote of him they played during the telecast, and what his manager, Bob Melvin had to say about his all-out style of play and infectious clubhouse personality, I would say Byrnesie’s working hard as ever, but is relaxed and happy with the D’Backs. This spells good things for him and them. (And for people like me who are rooting for him to do very well).
Byrnes batted 7th today. With Craig Counsell back from his injury, there is a bit of a logjam at the top of the order. Shortstop Counsell, second baseman Hudson, who batted second and homered today, center fielder Byrnes, and even catcher Johnny Estrada are all capable tablesetters. With the Cubs starting a right hander, Byrnes was moved down in the order. But against southpaws, he’s expected to see some at bats at leadoff or the two hole this season.
The D’Backs bolstered their bullpen today. Brad Halsey was scheduled to start today’s game but he was traded to Oakland this morning for reliever Juan Cruz, a right-hander. Eric Byrnes has played with Cruz and likes the deal. In a Steve Gilbert story about the trade, Byrnesie said, "He’s a good pitcher that’s got electrifying stuff. He throws in the upper 90s and has an unbelievable slider. I think he’s a great pickup for us. I’m very excited to have him."
Other Notes: Congrats to George Mason, the team many said should not be in the NCAA tournament. They beat U Conn, the team I thought would take it all, 86-84 in OT to make the Final Four.
Even though I had to leave off watching the game, which ended D’Backs 6 Cubs 0, to go to work, it was sunny in Oakland and 62 degrees. That’s another reason to be of good cheer, what with all the cold, wind and rain we have had in Oakland of late.
One piece of bad news: Indy car driver Paul Dana, of the Rahal-Letterman racing team, died after a crash in practice at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The rookie driver was 30 years old.